Sunday, November 11, 2007

All Good Things...

Well, I knew it was too good to be true. I normally wouldn't post after a loss, but I made such a big deal after the win... Anyway, never let it be said that I only post good stuff. A week after upsetting the #2 team in the nation, the 'Noles hit the road again to try to down the #11 team. Unfortunately, they couldn't get it done this time. Despite losing their starting quarterback in the first half, the 'Noles held the lead early in the 4th quarter before the inexperienced backup began making critical errors. In the last few minutes, the whole cart came unglued, and the Virginia Tech Jokies (actually Hokies) defeated the forces of light and goodness to the tune of 40-21.

*Sigh* Actually, I'm not too upset with the result. I still saw some fire and fight from our team, despite a ton of injuries and a crowd that was so classless that they apparently cheered when our players were injured. Anyway, despite the loss, I'm still optimistic the team is heading in the right direction... at least offensively. The defense suddenly has some serious question marks, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

On to...

Mysteries of Westgate
I just noticed that there's a neat pre-release screenshot posted on the Vault. I've bragged about our area designers, and this will give you an idea of one of the seedier districts at night. Click here for the goodness. Notice that there's clearly an ogre walking down the street and an orc standing off to the right a bit. As has been said on the forums, Westgate is a cosmopolitan city that accepts riff-raff of any type... Should be interesting, right?

The Maimed God's Saga Update
Over the past week, I finished up the two interior maps of the VanGhaunt mansion. By interior map standards, they are incredibly complex. The player will spend much time here, and there are two major sidequests rooted here and several more that will lead here along the way. In addition, the house chapel and guest suite will form the players' "home base" where they will rest and recover spells. Beyond that, there are just a great number of details (relevant and irrelevant to the main quest) that can be uncovered about the family's and town's pasts. My goal was to make several interactive objects that should keep the player interested as they explored some rather large interiors. As a reminder, here are the original plans for the mansion floors. That's 16 ground-floor rooms and 18 upper-floor rooms that all have to be filled with meticulous detail. The library on the second floor took forever, as I wanted to make it a place crammed from floor to ceiling with books in a stereotypical Victorian mansion feel.

But that was the work of the last couple weeks. This weekend, I completed two rather intricate exterior maps and made up all my item blueprints. Pictures of everything will leak out slowly at this point... I've got only so many maps and several weeks/months to fill!

It's been a while since I've posted some real metrics on my progress. I still need to finish up Act I to incorporate the comments I received from my testers. I was waiting until MotB came out, but obviously I can do that whenever... As for Act II,

I have determined I will need either 19 or 20 maps. The 20th would be for a specific sidequest that I am still debating. The truth is that I'm not 100% happy with the current plan, but I need to have something. There are two branching paths through Act I. In each path, as the PC approaches Navatranaasu, they will be able to thwart one of the many schemes the enemy has put in action. Based on which operation is put out of action, the enemy will have to adjust their regional operations to make up for it. Of course, in Act II, the player can deal with the adjustment as well, but it is one of these two adjustments that I'm not happy with. So I've decided to put this section on the back burner while I work on things that I am 100% happy with. Hopefully, in the interim, inspiration will arrive.

In short then, I have completed the 19 maps I'm sure of, which incorporates 9 exterior and 10 interior maps (counting the upper lighthouse as exterior). I am sure that I will make minor tweaks to all of the maps as I continue working, but the vast bulk of the work on each is done and there's certainly enough to allow me to start pulling in all of the other pieces. Therefore, if the final map count is 19, I am 100% done. If it ups to 20, I'm only 95% done. I'll split the difference and say 97.5%.

Several dozen of creature blueprints have been completed as well as about two dozen item blueprints and a couple placeables. That brings me to 99% finished. The 1% remaining is a creature blueprint that still doesn't exist. Therefore, I will either need to change a minor detail of my story or hope that the community eventually makes up for the needed creature model. For now, I'm just going to use a dummy creature and look again at the available haks as I get closer to completion.

I have completed nothing in the toolset, though I have several thousands of words written in a Word document. I have no reasonable way of determining a percentage, but it's pretty low. Without anything better to go on, I'll say 5%. This is really my next major thrust.

Progress Matrix
I've already explained it, so here it is.

TMGS Progress Report (in %)

Act I Act II Act III
Area Design 98 97.5 0
Dialog 100 5 0
Blueprints 100 99 0
Scripting 100 0 0
Journals 100 0 0
World Map
Intro Movie

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